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Bicolano OFWs, Unifil-Migrante launch relief ops for Rolly victims

05 November 2020

By The SUN 

Poster for BMA HK's donation drive for Bicol region

At least two big Filipino community organizations in Hong Kong have launched donation drives for the victims of super typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) which slammed into the Bicol and Southern Luzon regions early on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The world’s strongest typhoon this year left at least 24 people dead and hundreds of thousands of people dislocated from their homes.

As of Nov 3, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that at least 106,642 families were still displaced.

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In Bicol alone, nearly 80,000 homes were affected, including nearly 21,000 that were totally destroyed.

Damage to infrastructure was placed at Php5.7 billion, and Php1.1 billion to agricultural crops.

Leading the relief operation in Hong Kong is Bicol Migrant Association which is asking for donations of cash, clothes, groceries and food items for the typhoon victims.

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The donated items may be brought to exit E of the Central MTR station this coming Sunday, Nov 8, starting at 9am.

According to BMA President Bebs C. Leonardo, her group has also started receiving cash donations through online transfer, and so far, about $1,800 has been passed on to her, just two days after they aired their appeal on social media.

Leonardo said the money will be used to buy food and other grocery items to be packed in boxes that will be sent to Bicol after Sunday’s donation drive.

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She said that so far, three door-to-door boxes have been donated to her group for the relief drive, but a lot more are needed due to the number of people who have promised to bring donated goods this Sunday.

Leonardo may be contacted through her phone number, 98437250, for any donations.

Unifil-Migrante HK's poster soliciting donations for the typhoon victims

Also doing a relief drive is Operation Migrante Sagip Kababayan, which has been conducting such an operation for years, each time the Philippines is devastated by a major calamity.

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Dolores Balladares Pelaez, chair of United Filipinos in Hong Kong – Migrante, is asking for donations in cash and in kind for the victims in Bicol and Southern Luzon, not only of Rolly, but also of tropical storm Siony.

She said her group will set up a collection box at the offices of the Mission for Migrant Workers in Central and Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants in Jordan, where people can drop their donations.

“May box kami courtesy ng AFreight para sa mga magdo-donate at doon na rin iempake sa collection point, sabay padala,” said Pelaez.

She said their collection effort is tied up with Migrante International’s relief missions mainly in Bicol and Catanduanes, but open to other ravaged areas.

Members of Migrante-Asia Pacific have launched similar relief operations in countries and territories where they are based, including Australia and Taiwan.

Pelaez said the priority beneficiaries of the relief operation are those places and families that have not been reached by government relief agencies. She said Migrante is still setting up the places where relief goods would be distributed.

For cash donations, Balladares said there are designated bank accounts under the Mission for Migrant Workers where donors can deposit the money. She said receipts will be issued for every $100 donation as the Mission is a registered charity.

For more information, donors may call Pelaez directly at 9747 2986.

In a press statement issued earlier, the Unifil-Migrante leader slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for hardly doing anything to help the victims of super typhoon Rolly, and for not even attending his government’s press briefing the day after the disaster struck.

“The Philippines is hit by at least 20 typhoons and storms annually. Yet we are hit by the same scenes and stories of people affected and communities damaged, year after year. Where is President Duterte in all this? In his swanky house, sleeping,” she said.

“Why was there little disaster preparedness training done? Because the safety of the people is not the priority. How come a briefing was done after Goni has done much damage? To merely save face,” she said.


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Meanwhile, Migrante-Asia Pacific reiterated a call for the reallocation of  the billions of pesos allotted to a task force formed to end communist insurgency to emergency relief operations, rehabilitation efforts, and Covid-19 response. 

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